Friday 16 February 2024

Sweet beginnings

My parents celebrated their golden anniversary in January and I organized a week-long vacation in Sri Lanka for the three of us. I left for Chennai in mid-January and spent two and a half weeks in Chennai, Bangalore, and Sri Lanka. With my penchant for cramming my schedule, my few days in India were hectic, but I'm glad I did cram my calendar because I got to meet so many friends and family and spend quality time with all of them. Such opportunities for connection, especially when you live abroad, are few and far between, and I cherish them all the more for that. 

Our road trip in Sri Lanka covered Dambulla, Trincomalee, Kandy, Colombo, and Galle (in that order). I relished spending 1:1 time with my folks. Time is the most valuable currency; once lost, never to be regained. I think we'll all look back on our week in Sri Lanka with a lot of fondness and I am really glad that I was able to execute this plan successfully. 

I met a friend in Bangalore who loves Sri Lanka too. She pressed on me a book called "This Divided Island" by Samanth Subramanian which I was engrossed in during the long flight back home. It's a nonfiction account of the civil war in Sri Lanka told through the tragic stories of the innumerable victims. It really opened my eyes to all the trauma that is still being carried around by Sinhalese and Tamils alike, under the veneer of normalcy and hospitality which is all that we experienced during our time there. 

I spent a couple of days in Bangalore at the office and some changes are in the offing on the work front as well. Since I have been back home, I have been deliberating on my next (professional) steps and discussing them with S. In the meantime, I restarted my weekly Zumba class and also began volunteering as an ESOL teacher again (once a week for 2 hours). Summer plans are being made ...lots of travel this year as well. 2024 is shaping up to be another eventful year.

Monday 1 January 2024

2023 Recap

What a whirlwind year 2023 has been! 

THE most eventful year of our married life. 

January - we started seeing our new house coming up. What had been mud and stones in late 2022 started taking shape slowly.

I went to NYC for a few days of Board meetings (where I was inducted as Board Chair), followed by a very adventurous road trip in Arizona with my dear friend J.

The minute we landed in Phoenix, S told me the good news that Ads had been admitted to UW-Madison.

February - I joined my lovely Zumba class. 

The four of us went to DC to see Jerry Seinfeld in the flesh. 

March - Spring! Lots and lots of lovely flowers and sunnier days. We went to DC and Maryland to see the cherry blossoms.

April - To the coast (Hampton) for spring break, a nice week staying in a quiet airbnb. 

I participated in the World Bank Spring meetings in DC and moderated a panel on Climate and Health, which I was super nervous about. There was a lot of prep involved and we didn't have a great turnout but it was a good experience. 

We closed on the new house and my cousin and her husband came over and did a small pooja for us.

We got a lot of vendors into the house for putting up blinds, closets, etc etc.

May - Yukta had her homecoming dance. 

I went to Bangalore on work. Also spent a few days with my folks in Chennai and with friends in Bangalore. Bonus: Attending a close friend's son's poonal and a niece's engagement in Chennai.

However, my trip meant that I was not there for S's birthday this year. He and the kids went to New Jersey to attend a family wedding when I was away. 

June - The craziest month of the year! It started with Ads' high school graduation just a day after I landed back in the US.

My colleagues from Bangalore visited for a few days of meetings in DC. 

As soon as the school year ended, we moved into the new house. It was a real pang leaving our Chantilly home of 5 years. 

We worked like mad getting the house in order and within a week left for a few day's break in Chicago and then on to Madison for Ads' orientation. Blown away by the beautiful campus and the clockwork manner in which the parent's and student's orientations were organized.

Met my old college buddy Sow after 20 years!

July - Watched the Independence Day fireworks with Y, live for the first time.

S's parents arrived. 

We went on a road trip to Philly and New Jersey, where we also had a mini IIMB reunion. S then took his parents to NYC while I came back home with Y

August - S took his parents to Niagara Falls.

My mil's bday and Ads turned 18!

We went to Ocean City for a few days to celebrate the last days of summer. We also visited Chincoteague and Assateague. It was a lovely trip with warm sunny weather. 

Y started her freshman year in the new school. 

We dropped Ads at his new home for the next 4 years - Madison. 

September - My birthday! I went to Houston for my uncle's 60th birthday pooja.

Then to NYC for UN week. It was my first time at UNGA and NYC was even crazier than usual. Great experience speaking at a panel on reproductive justice and meeting lots of folks. Bonus: spending time with my friend J.

S started a new job at Stout, ending a solid 11 years at Grant Thornton.

October - Trip to Shenandoah NP.

Golu at the new house, our biggest one yet and the first time I have a proper stand. Invited a ton of people and for 3 days the house was buzzing. 

The fall colors in 2023 were spectacular and S and I took many many walks documenting the vivid foliage. 

We went to Hershey's Chocolate World for my fil's birthday and he was like a kid in THE candy store!

November - Y's 15th birthday.

I went to upstate New York for a conference.

My in-laws returned to India.

Diwali. My neighbors and I organized a get-together with food and fireworks for the community which was a lot of fun. 

Ads came back home for Thanksgiving and we had a nice lunch at my cousin's place. I learned how to make mashed potatoes and gravy!

Our new dentist found a worrying cyst in Y's mouth and she had to have a biopsy. It turned out to be a benign water cyst which needed a second surgery to remove.

December - Yukta's surgery to remove the cyst and subsequent few days of recovery. 

We went to the Dominican Republic for a few days and it was a gorgeous and relaxed finale to a super eventful year.


We hosted a lot of people last year- lots of lunches, dinners, and high teas (the last with our new neighbors in a bid to get to know everyone better), plus family who came to stay. My culinary skills definitely improved. I learned how to make Indian bakery-style vegetable puffs from scratch, and other things with puff pastry. 

Grateful for all the relationships we were able to nourish, all the transitions we navigated with relative ease, our new house with its beautiful mountain views, and neighbors all of whom are really nice and friendly. 

Lots of things to look forward to in 2024. But that's another post!